A Dirty Mind Is A Terrible Thing to Waste: 9 Life Lessons We Learned From Steel Magnolias

While Nora Ephron shaped our cinematic visions of New York, the single biggest cinematic influence on our views on life in the South was Steel Magnolias. From the big hair to the epic levels of snark and sass, we identify with these ladies big time: An alternative name for this blog could have been Clairee & Ousier. So here are a few serious, and not so serious, life lessons we learned from the Southern classic

1. There are approximately nineteen billion shades of pink: We’re not averse to pink here at Zelda & Scout, but Shelby Eatenton-Latcherie taught us that there’s far more to life than just “pink” (see: delicate pink, practically pink, stuck pig pink, pepto-bismol, blush, and bashful).

2. Don’t trust anyone who does their own hair. It’s unnatural: We don’t begrudge anyone who wants to do their own hair (#brokelyn), but if you choose to coif at home you’ll miss out on the core life relationship forged between a girl and her hairdresser. Part stylist, part therapist/life coach/dispenser of sage wisdom, we can’t all have a Truvy, but we can come pretty close.

3. If you can achieve puberty, you can achieve a past: Whether they’re young or old, everybody has a story. No one is one-dimensional, and what you see on the surface is just that: a surface facade hiding all the weird shit they keep buried in their closets. Everyone has a story tell, and it’s our responsibility to listen and to imagine our fellow humans complexly.

4. Iced tea? It’s the house wine of the South: If you’re a regular Z&S reader, you know we have very strong feelings about iced tea, and we think Truvy has it right. Where many New York restaurant tables come equipped with a bottle of wine, you’d be hard-pressed to find a restaurant in the South that doesn’t make at least two types of iced tea every morning.

5. The only thing that separates us from the animals is our ability to accessorize: This one speaks for itself.

6. If you can’t say anything nice about anybody, come sit by me: In the words of Kathryn Stockett (Author of The Help): “Don’t you see? We gossip because we care.”  Gossip is a marker of being invested in a community. We want to know about our neighbors — whether we’re analyzing their love lives or talking smack about their questionable fashion choices while in line at the grocery store — because we care about their well being. Why do you think Southern women have such big hair?

7. Being young is about figuring out who you are, and it’s okay not to know: Young Annelle goes through several ups and downs throughout the film — from a married-too-young runaway fleeing her criminal husband to a free-spirited, big-haired party girl to a born-again Christian. Being young is about figuring it out. You’ll find your stride (and your inner smartass) eventually, as long as it doesn’t interfere with your ability to do good hair.

8. Laughter through tears is my favorite emotion: Your friends are the ones who know when you need a good cry, and how to make you laugh when you don’t think you ever will again. True friends will even let you slap ‘em if you need to hit somethin’ (or at least offer up one of your other friends for the job).

9. Your friends are your family: Ties among Southern women run deep, and once you’re friends with them, you’re friends forever. They’re always ready to offer a helping hand (often bearing a homemade pie), and whether you need heartfelt advice, a reality check, or a shoulder to cry on, they always pull through. Even when they tease more than your hair, you know they’ve always got your back.

One thought on “A Dirty Mind Is A Terrible Thing to Waste: 9 Life Lessons We Learned From Steel Magnolias

  1. Pingback: November Round Up, and an Announcement! |

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